If you are treating workers compensation patients and performing Functional Capacity Evaluations, offering impairment ratings is a relatively easy way to expand your clinical services and increase your value to referral sources.
What is an impairment rating? In a nutshell, it is an evaluation performed on a patient to assign a percent of impairment. These impairment percentages are used in settling workers’ compensation cases. The American Medical Association (AMA) has developed a very prescribed methodology for performing impairment ratings. This methodology is published in The AMA’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment . The “AMA Guide” covers the process of determining impairment in all the systems of the body. However, the sections on musculoskeletal and neurological impairments are the sections most relevant to physical and occupational therapists. The typical extremity musculoskeletal impairment involves taking goniometric range of motion measures and then using tables and graphs in the “AMA Guide” to determine the percent impairment.